Jill's Special Focaccia

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Jill's Special Focaccia

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Published prior to 2008

This interesting vegetable- and herb-filled flatbread is nearly a meal unto itself, particularly when it's paired with soup or a salad.

1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon garlic oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon diastatic malt powder
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Italian-Style Flour
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning or Pizza Lovers' Seasoning, or 1 tablespoon EACH dried oregano and dried basil
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup pine nuts, raw or toasted
1 cup roasted red pepper strips, steamed broccoli, spinach, artichoke hearts or sliced mushrooms, or a combination
freshly minced basil and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Make a slack dough by hand, electric mixer or bread machine from the first nine ingredients. Add the olives and pine nuts just before the last 1/2 cup of flour if you're kneading by hand or mixer, or 5 minutes before the end of the bread machine's dough cycle (to keep them whole).

After the dough has doubled in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours), knock it down and spread onto a 14-inch round pizza pan that has been heavily sprinkled with cornmeal. Make indentations in the dough with your fingertips, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes, until nice and puffy. Push your vegetables of choice down into the dough slightly to keep them anchored.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500°F. Turn it down to 450°F and bake the focaccia for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and top with fresh basil and freshly cracked black pepper. Fresh tomato slices, chopped garlic and a bit of olive oil elevate this bread to sublime.